Urban Tech Farm
What's the big idea?
We’re starting small and scaling linearly. We have home setups that we’re using for research & learning. We plan to transition what we learn to a beta prototype - to grow and distribute samples; then a shipping container - to prove sustainability; and finally to abandoned buildings. Growing indoors allows for year-round production, higher efficiency than traditional farming, better control of variables, greater yields, & minimal transportation costs. Using aquaponics (growing veggies with fish) food can be grown in a symbiotic closed loop system without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
Describe the nearest player in your field.
In Chicago, there is currently a project called The Plant (http://www.plantchicago.com) Their goal is to pair tenants’ waste inputs/outputs to create a closed-loop sustainable ecosystem that is net zero energy usage. i.e. Spent barley from the brewery is used to feed Tilapia in the aquaponics farm.
How are you different from that player?
The tech farm in Grand Rapids would be designed to fully integrate automation within the system to control the farming environment & labor needs. We’d like to see robotic: planting, harvesting, packing, shipping, etc.
How's the world different with your idea in it?
By 2050, there will be over 9 billion people. There isn’t enough arable land left on Earth to accommodate this predicted population growth. Our current food production methods are not sustainable and have been causing devastating effects to our environment. The time to change and prepare is now.
Why are you the one to run with this idea?
One of my goals in life is to be part of an industry that can change the lives of billions. For me it’s not about the money, it’s about providing a solution to a serious need in which the majority of people don’t even recognize yet. I have the passion, ambition, & foresight to make this a reality.